I just received Lynn Boyle’s Heloise Lenormand from Australia and I’m definitely impressed. The deck is designed around a stained-glass-window motif, and the images are crystal-clear and instantly recognizable. There are five extra cards in the plain white box: the now customary second Man and Woman as well as an extra Tree, Tower and Heart. I’m not entirely sure what the purpose of the last three is, unless it’s purely for aesthetic flexibility. There is no LWB and I’m not sure if one is available for download on Lynn’s “AquariusWellbeing” web site. The printing is nicely done and the card stock is comfortably poker-sized and flexible, if a bit on the thin side; it shuffles smoothly. If I end up using this regularly in a professional capacity (as we shall see later), either I won’t be able to use it every day or I will need a back-up copy to account for wear. I put this deck through my New Deck “Attitude Check” spread to get an idea how it will read for me.
Once again, I decided to forego photos of all the steps described in the spread guidance and just focus on the “exploded” views of the four piles created by the deal. Although this resembles a 9×4 Grand Tableau layout in appearance, the resemblance stops there. I only read the cards in the Significator’s row (in this case, the Man card representing me as the user). The first card at the far left in each row was the card at the bottom of the completed pile when they were dealt face-up, and the last card at the far right was the top card (last card laid down) in the pile. The row above the Significator’s row was to the left in the original four-pile sequence (as shown in the spread graphic), and the two rows below were to the right of the Significator’s pile. These distinctions are important when determining the left-or-right orientation of the various card pairs in the analysis. I typically see cards placed to the left of the Significator or other focus card as fading in importance and those positioned to the right as increasing in influence. Note that the “benchmark” card combinations are my own and don’t adhere strictly to standard meanings, although they are derived from them. Also, even though I don’t personally believe decks have “personalities,” I conduct these readings as if they do.
The Man appeared as the 18th card in the draw, with 17 cards to its left and above, and 18 cards to its right and below, placing it almost exactly at the center of the array. The deck will display neither a future-oriented, conjectural nor a past-oriented, historical bias, and will be grounded squarely in the present, making it an ideal portal for examining both.
Of the eight wholly positive cards in the deck (Sun, Clover, Bouquet, Stars, Heart, Key, Fish, Moon), six (75%) show up to the Significator’s left, suggesting that the deck will be sparing in its optimism, while five (63%) of the eight wholly negative cards (Clouds, Coffin, Scythe, Mountain, Mice, Cross, Whip, Fox) are to the Significator’s right, making me think the deck could play rough with seekers looking only for affirmation of their fondest wishes. The deck may show a tendency to accentuate the negative and de-emphasize the positive, so I will probably have to be gentle in delivering its testimony.
The Bear (large) is to the right of the Child (small) while the Fish (much or many) is to the the left, implying that the deck will be even-handed in its commentary, although with the Bear closer it may succumb to a “whopper” or two. The Mountain to the right of the Mice reinforces this tendency, giving an inclination to “make a mountain out of a molehill.” Once again, I will need to choose my words carefully..
Since the Rider was the very first card drawn, all of the positive and negative cards are to its right, meaning that the deck will deliver both good and bad news in an impartial way: no undue sympathy but also no particular agenda to push. Both the Ring and the Dog are to the right of the Heart; I think I will grow to love this deck despite its evident parsimony. The Clouds is to the left of the Book and far away, as is the Park (taken together, “public knowledge”); there should be no particular difficulty, but also no marked ease, in tapping into the deck’s common-sense wisdom – it will speak its piece, no more nor less (which is all I can ask).
The Fox, Snake and Cross fall to the Significator’s right, while the Clouds, Coffin and Whip appear to its left. The deck’s pronouncements may not be overly threatening, but they won’t be especially comforting either. As in all things associated with this deck, I will need to exercise a measure of caution and discretion in its use. None of these cards are unusually close to the Man in the sequence, so my normal circumspection should suffice in most situations.
Regarding the Significator’s row/pile, the Fish at the center convinces me that this would be an excellent deck for both public reading and teaching for pay (it looks like a “money-maker”). The Ring-Tower-Man combination seems to be describing an “institutional man-under-contract,” which points more toward teaching, but likely in a commercial rather than academic setting (perhaps at a shop). I have been thinking of offering a Lenormand beginner’s course locally. The Man mirrors the Stork, signaling a fortunate move in that direction, and Stork-Moon-Clover looks like I might settle into a steady gig. The Whip is the most interesting card here; while it typically speaks of argument, disagreement or debate, I’m thinking more of John Michal Greer’s observation in The Druidry Handbook that the Western mind is more discursive than contemplative: we talk to ourselves in meditation rather than simply freeing the mind of all thought. In the context of this reading, I’m thinking I could “repeat myself” and “push too hard” if I insist too strenuously on getting any monetary deal in writing (Fish-Letter-Ring). There is certainly enough positive energy going on in this line to resist putting too fine a point on it.
I have been eying Lynn Boyle’s Lenormand decks for a long time, and almost bought the Nordic Lenormand more than once in the past. I’m happy to say that my first exposure to her prolific output is such a pleasant one.